#203 Don McAllister, MercuryMover, G1 Android, GlobalSat Data Logger, XCode

Don McAllister joined the show live this week in studio, chiming in from time to time! Stories of adventure with Star Trek and play – here’s a link to the Facebook photo album of photos and Don’s photos too.. Contest entry is now closed, and how I am a loser at arithmetic, so politely pointed out by Keith from heliumfoot.com, makers of MercuryMover, and watch Don McAllister’s screencast on MercuryMover on screencastsonline.com show 175. Josh rebuts my G1 Android review with some facts and data. Bruce from North Texas (aka twitter.com/noblesongster) tells us about th eGlobalSat Data Logger he used to replace the EyeFi card he panned a few weeks back. Don helps with the Honda Bob commercial, and then Donald Burr and Bart do Chit Chat Across the Pond without me! They discuss Xcode and how it could help you solve problems.

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Today is Sunday May 10th, 2009 and this show number 203. Well Steve and I had such a great weekend! A few weeks ago Adam Christianson of the MacCast wrote to all the Mac Podcasters extending an invitation from Rod Roddenberry, son of Gene Roddenberry who created Star Trek, to attend a special screening of the new movie on Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles. Steve and I jumped at the opportunity and booked immediately, but for some silly reason all of the other local Mac Podcasters were unable to make it. However, one Mac Podcaster made a super human effort to be there. Don McAllister actually flew all the way from London to LA to go with us! We had the pleasure of having him stay at our house with us the day before so he could experience Taco Bell Thursday. We relaxed, geeked out on our Macs, drank a few beers, and had a lot of laughs. Don is a perfect houseguest and traveling companion, but don’t tell him I said that. I tried to pretend that he was on my nerves most of the time – it’s so much fun being mean to someone as nice as Don. If you’d like to see the photos we took during our big adventure, I put a link to the Facebook photo album in the shownotes and Don’s photos too.. Needless to say the movie was outstanding too!

One of the highlights was that we got to sit and chat with Rod and he was gracious enough to do an interview with me. We talked for about a half hour about Macs, the documentary he’s doing about his father and his passion for diving. It was an honor to talk to him, and a great thrill for me when he told me that he listens to the show! I’ll be releasing that interview as a standalone show later this week, I think you’ll enjoy it.

Update on the Contest
Well we’ve got over 150 entries for the Anniversary giveaway next weekend, all in by the deadline which was today. I thought about letting the stragglers come in late, but I’ve always resented it when people do that – why be unfair to the people who got their homework in on time? So if you haven’t gotten your email into me by now, you’ll have to wait till the five year anniversary I guess!

Next week’s show should be interesting, it’s been created entirely by Steve! All I know is that he’s created it by pulling together audio segments from the past four years worth of shows. I’m really looking forward to it, plus I essentially get a vacation next week! We’ll break up that entertainment with telling you about the winners of the contest. I’m going to find some way to make it NOT an endless dreary list of names and prizes, if I have to speed talk my way through it I’ll make it NOT boring for you. It’s going to be fun to be like Santa next week!

Math and Mercury Mover
So remember last week when I read Gita’s email about all the options to control windows more creatively on the Mac? I said that I watched the screencast on MercuryMover and it scared me when so many keystrokes kept jumping up on screen so I moved on. I also said that I couldn’t get through the arithmetic captcha on atomicbird.com defeated me when I tried to write to them about MondoMouse. Well i got an email from Keith Alperin of heliumfoot.com that I think you’ll really enjoy!

    Hi Allison, your latest episode of the NosillaCast showed up on my radar and i wanted to thank you for the mention of and link to MercuryMover! Hopefully, it will be easier to use than my screencast seems to suggest (I’m taking your criticism of my screencast to heart and plan to redo it by the end of next quarter [i’m a little overbooked right now!]. In the meantime Don McAllister did a really great one for ScreenCastsOnline about six months ago: screencastsonline.com/index_files/SCO0175-bigmonitors.php). Finally, i spoke to the proprietor of atomicbird.com and it looks like his captcha is 8 times 3, not 8 plus 3. Some problems are software, some are hardware and some are eyewear ;- )

Ok, seriously? It’s a darn good thing that I said I was arithmetically challenged! I really DID get As in Calculus, I hope you believe me! But arithmetic is my Kryptonite I’m afraid. How embarrassing! I owe it to Keith to give MercuryMover a try now, after how nice he was and everything, right?

G1 Redux
Josh wrote in with some interesting counterpoints on a couple of points in my G1 review. I want to read them to you but I’m going to interrupt him often!

    Allison -First of all I love the podcast. But I have a few issues with your android review as I have a G1. Maybe try reading the manual. I know it’s really hard but… If you had you may have discovered the long press function and figured out how to delete email without opening it.

I actually wasn’t given the manual, but since you guys listen to the show, I won’t pretend with you that I would have read it! I was trying to judge the phone on how intuitive the phone is. If I have to read the manual to figure it out, it’s a less optimal device than if I could have figured it out on my own. Note that I didn’t judge the G1 if it did something differently than the iPhone as long as I could figure it out. I think people who read manuals have a huge advantage over me in how much they can enjoy their devices but I just don’t have the patience for it!

    Josh goes on to say: The GPS could have been a reception problem kind of like all your podcasting cohorts up the coast experience with the phone function of the Iphone. Here in Chicago I have had no problem with it. When compared with the 2nd gen Iphones my friends have the G1 has proven much more accurate. Inside my apartment when I hit the my location button it zeros right in on my apartment. My roommate’s Iphone puts him in the cemetery across the street.

Interesting. I do think I should have done more tests than I did. I felt kinda guilty after I read the review. I was also thinking – are GPS units supposed to work inside your house anyway? Maybe that wasn’t a good test? As far as the comparison to the iPhone, at least in your example the iPhone was within the block, the G1 was about 10 blocks off, and couldn’t even make up its mind!

    And Josh’s third point: As for the battery issue the only complaints I’ve heard about it are form tech critics such as yourself. Actual owners I know don’t seem to have a problem with it. Recently I left the gps and wifi on and streamed 2 hours of podcasts, took 5 photos, had My Tracks running ( a gps program that records your route to goole maps ) while out for a run with the dog, played on Twitter for 10 minutes, responded to half a dozen emails and played a couple games of chess while shopping with the better half, and actually had about 25 minutes worth of phone calls. OH yeah I had bluetooth on as well for the trip to the mall with the better half. My battery was at 54%. This all started at about noon on a Saturday. That night I did not plug the phone into the charger. I did shut off blue tooth though. The next day I had enough enough juice to listen to Security Now and run My Tracks while walking the dog. When I got back the battery was at 7% and it was close to 8:45. Either there are some bum batteries out there or my usage still falls in the light weight level.

I wrote back to Josh and asked him one more question. I had a theory, remember I mentioned that the G1 uses a mutant cable, but I’ve been using a normal mini-usb cable to charge it instead. I thought maybe I didn’t get good battery life because of that. Here’s what Josh sent back:

    I can attest to the fact that it isn’t the mutant cable. I’ve been using the cable that came with my Canon G9 camera to charge it of my MACBOOK and I sometimes use the usb charger from my Motorola bluetooth speakerphone to charge it from the car or an outlet. It think there are just some bad phones out there. I did forget to mention this is my second G1. The first one did get a little wacky with the GPS once in a while. ( sort of shooting around the map before zeroing in on my position ) And the battery didn’t seem to last as long as this one. The firmware has also been updated twice since I received the new one. I’m sure that has something to do with the difference as well.

Well that’s good information to have. if you have a G1 that’s not behaving properly, definitely take it back! Hopefully they’ll keep doing firmware updates too. I should find out whether the one I used had the firmware updates on it!

ScreenSteps
I mentioned a few weeks ago that the ScreenSteps guys had release version 2.5 but I didn’t tell you much about the update. One of the new features is that you can track your lesson status. So let’s say you have done a rough draft of a lesson and you want to run it by someone before you publish it, you can click on a little grey ball next to the lesson name and switch it to red for not finished, on to yellow which means needs review and finally to green that means it’s ready to publish. If you’re working on a complicated project this can really help you to keep track of what you’ve got left to do. Version 2.5 is also better integrated with ScreenSteps Live, the service that helps you do real time collaboration on manuals and help desk FAQs if you’re part of a bigger team. I’ll tell you more features over the coming weeks, want to leaving you wanting more of course! If you’re interested in a great tool for documenting processes for others or helping you remember how to do complicated things yourself, head over to usglobalsat.com

I’ll get back to the question in a moment but I want to warn you about a snag you are going to run into. The disc for the Mac is useless other than the manual. You will need to download the GlobalSync software. If you go to the link I have provided, there is a link to download the software you need but due to a mistake on GlobalSat’s website, you get the GPSUtility which only shows the live data but gives you no access to download the collected data in the device. I had to contact GlobalSat’s customer service and have the software emailed to me and once I installed it, it worked fine. The software is free and tied to their devices.

Back to the question. When you turn on your device, you will need to pair it with your Mac. Once it is paired and you launch the GlobalSync Software, you should see the model identification in the drop-down menu. A word of warning: before you tell the software to connect to the device, make sure the device has had time to boot completely and that the Bluetooth blue LED is flashing and the green satellite LED is either steady or flashing. You click connect and, if you have Growl installed with Hardware Growler running, you will see a confirmation that the Bluetooth connection was made and the name of the device.

You have 3 options in the software: configure, download, and clear. I won’t go into the configuration settings because the manual is easy to read and covers all of the options in plenty of detail. You can download the data in 1 of 2 formats: Google KML or GPX. I use the Houdah Geo software and it requires the GPX format to tag photos. I did make contact with Houdah and they are planning a future version of their software that can tag photos in iPhoto instead of having to tag them first and then import them. I’m looking forward to this upgrade.

There is no mention of the length of the warranty in the user manual, the data sheet, the website page for the device, or the documentation that came with the device.

Lastly, the battery in the unit is a lithium Ion polymer battery that holds 1.6 amp hours which allows the unit to run continuously for 25 hours. The battery is removable via a slide off cover and replacement or spare batteries can be purchased for around $10. The model of the battery is the same as the unit.

I bought the unit for $69.95 plus shipping and they included a freebie which I could choose from 3 items: a windshield mount, a carrying case, or a vent mount for $5.00 and I choose the windshield mount. (it’s still in the bag, though.) Both GlobalSat and Semsons are in southern California.

I highly recommend the GlobalSat BT-335 GPS Data logger and especially the use of Semsons.com’s store and helpful sales people.
semsons.com

I hope you enjoyed this review. If you like what you hear, you can follow me on Twitter as Noblesongster.

Take care and talk to you soon.

Honda Bob
Don McAllister of screencastsonline joins me for the Honda Bob Commercial. Call him at (562)531-2321 or email him at hdabob@aol.com. HDA Bob’s Mobile Service is not affiliated with Honda, Acura or Honda Worldwide.

Chit Chat Across the Pond
# Security Lite
## no urgent security news this week – yay! 🙂
## Explain the dangers of URL shotening services, and particularly the dangers these pose on Twitter.
# X Code Discussion

Notes for the Xcode discussion: (for the show notes)
===============================
* I’ve programmed for many different computers and OS’s
* Worst is Windows (MFC ugh!!) with possibly XWindows as a runner up
* I did some programming for the Mac back in the dark ages – it was HARD
** you’d know a Mac programmer because of the way their shoulders slumped (carrying the weighty Inside Macintosh volumes)
* a friend used to rave about how elegant the NeXT was, from both a user and programmer POV
** it was popular among scientists, investment bankers, and the NSA
*** they could easily code new simulations based on rapidly changing data/market conditions
*** lord only knows what the NSA was doing with it
** couldn’t exactly drop $10k on a NeXTcube and didnt’ have access to one
** but now we do!! – OS X is a direct descendant of NeXTstep
** including the programming environment (all Cocoa classes names start with NSblahblah, NS = NeXTstep)
* THE BEST development environment of them all, hands down (IMHO of course)
* extremely easy to code a useful app
* it’s like what Visual Basic should have been
* comes free with every Mac (install it from the OS X install DVD)
* book recommendation: C Primer Plus is the book I learned C with – VERY easy to read and thorough, Learn Objective C (for learning the basics of OOP and the fundamentals of the language itself), Cocoa Programming for the Mac (for the Mac-specific bits)
* free online documents: ADC Intro to OOP, ADC Intro to Objective C, Cocoa Dev Central free (donations requested) tutorial on C
* In general CocoaDevCentral has pretty much all you need, they ask for donations if you find it useful
* another great resource is MacRumorsGuides – Helpful Developer Resources

That will wind it up for this week – contact me at allison@podfeet.com with your dumb questions, follow me at twitter.com/podfeet. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.

1 thought on “#203 Don McAllister, MercuryMover, G1 Android, GlobalSat Data Logger, XCode

  1. […] to @podfeet HQ for the Sunday afternoon and a live appearance on the NosillaCast with Allison. Finished off the day with a slap up steak dinner with Steve, Allison and Kyle – […]

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